The race for Ohio governor in the 2014 election has now officially begun.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald made his long-expected announcement Wednesday that he’ll seek the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent John Kasich. Nick Castele of member station WCPN in Cleveland reports.
In his speech, FitzGerald criticized Gov. Kasich, saying he cut funding for schools and local government. FitzGerald reminded the audience of his supporters that Kasich also championed the measure limiting collective bargaining rights of public-sector unions.
FITZGERALD: When you talk to the workers, the small business owners, the parents, the cops, the nurses, the firefighters and the teachers who really make up the fabric of Ohio, you know that we’re in need of new leadership. And we can’t afford to wait.
FitzGerald said he’d restore funding for education, work more closely with cities and protect unions. He also highlighted his role as an FBI agent in the 1990s, saying he is prepared to tackle corruption and cronyism where he finds it. In response, Republicans organized a series of conference calls with local GOP officials and reporters. In one call, Bay Village mayor Debbie Sutherland portrayed FitzGerald as an opportunist already looking for the next job only two years into running the state’s largest county.
SUTHERLAND: I think the expectation was that we would have someone who would at least finish out their first term, without looking to, you know, with blind ambition, to the next position.
FitzGerald made his initial announcement in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Next he’s expected to head elsewhere in the state, as he gears up for an election that’s a year and a half away.